'Express Yourself' a hit at West Middleton

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West Middleton has provided students and staff with a unique art opportunity the past four years.

The Express Yourself art display is currently adorning the hallways of the school. Each student in kindergarten through fourth grade -- nearly 500 in all -- along with a number of staff members has created a unique artwork to celebrate their individuality as well as school community, art teacher Marnie Hyland said.

Hyland said she wanted to develop a lesson where students and staff could share who they are and what they love to highlight all the things they have in common as well as all the ways each person is unique.

The lesson took 3-hour-long art classes to complete, she said. Students looked at artwork by Ana Serrano, Saba Taj, Ai Wei Wei, John James Audubon, Heather Hansen and Pablo Picasso as inspiration to emphasize some of the many ways that artists express themselves, Hyland added.

What has been the reaction from students?

"The students love perusing the display, finding their friends and siblings and pointing out fun details,'' she said.

And what did Hyland think of how things turned out? 

"I'm so proud of these amazing young artists,'' she said. "The reaction to the display has been incredibly positive. Celebrating our school community is very important to us at West Middleton. When kids see their own artwork up on the wall with all the other students in the school, they feel special and valued and they know that they belong.''